Princesses:Amazon Brigade/Chapter 15
Chapter #15: Foot in the Door
<Capn_Ascii> As we join our heroines, we find them baffled at the prospect of removing their filthy riches from this equally filthy underground vault. Also they're locked in, but who cares about that, there's TREASURE to hoard!
<Capn_Ascii> Jenny: You begin knocking on walls, and before long you find one that sounds hollow. There's no obvious way to open it, though.
- Jenny looks around for a piece of treasure that might be hard enough to break stone or fake stone.
- Andrea checks carefully for a less obvious way to open it
<Capn_Ascii> Jenny: Almost everything in here is made of solid gold. Heavy, but soft - overall bad for smashing.
<Selphie> "What happens if we trigger the trap that's disabled? It might move the false wall."
<Capn_Ascii> Andrea: You dig through the pile of coins sitting at the base of the wall, and discover a small hole about an inch round drilled into the center of one particular brick.
- Andrea carefully checks the hole for traps
<Capn_Ascii> Andrea: You lean over and peer into the hole. There's what looks like a switch about a foot deep, but nothing else.
<Andrea> Andrea flips the switch.
<Capn_Ascii> Andrea: With what, your foot-long finger? You need a tool of some sort.
<Andrea> "Anyone got a stick to flip this switch with, or something?"
<Selphie> "I have a toolbox. Would a screwdriver work?"
<Andrea> "Yeah, that should do it," Andrea replies. "Screwdriver, please."
- Selphie hands over the toolbox.
- Andrea pulls the screwdriver out and presses the switch with it
<Capn_Ascii> The entire rear wall slowly withdraws, revealing a room even larger than the vault itself. This one is almost entirely empty, except for a few scattered coins here and there, as if someone dropped a few and forgot to come back for them. <more>
<Capn_Ascii> There's a rather large...thing in here, about the size of a delivery van. It looks for all the world like an enormous piggy bank - made from grey stone, and inexplicably hovering about a foot off the ground. You also notice that the rear wall of this room opens into a tunnel that slopes upward at a shallow angle.
- Andrea examines the piggy bank more closely.
<Jenny> "Umm...if they wanted a magical flying piggy bank, why didn't they store the treasure inside it?"
<Andrea> "Better question: If this is the stuff that ISN'T good enough to go in the piggy bank, what IS in there?" Andrea grins.
<Suyana> "Does it open, or do we get to break it?" Suyana says, grinning even more
<Andrea> "Well, now, let's not get carried away. We do a careful examination first, make sure it's not going to release some unspeakable horror, first."
- Selphie investigates the switch in the hole, wondering where it draws its power from and whether it's mechanical or electrical.
<Selphie> "A hovering piggybank is nothing; I have a hovering airship :-P This must be military-level technology! Is it ticking?"
<Capn_Ascii> Selphie: The switch is clearly mechanical. ...or possibly electrical. You'd have to take the whole wall apart to be sure, and there are bigger, piggier things to worry about right now.
<Jenny> "It better not come alive," Jenny comments, holding her chainsaw up, just in case one of the others does something to bring it to life.
- Selphie continues to be interested by the switch and the wall mechanism. Money and hovering things, she's got, but a nifty switch like this... that's something worth investigating!
<Capn_Ascii> Andrea: The pig hovers through what you assume must be some sort of magic, as there's no other immediately obvious means of keeping it aloft. There's a large, circular opening on its belly about three feet wide, with a matching metal cover sitting against the wall nearby. There may be something of interest further up, but from down here you can't get an angle on the pig's upper regons.
<Andrea> "Anyone got a ladder?"
<Jenny> "Want me to lift you up so you can see the top?" Jenny asks.
- Andrea pulls out her phone and starts flashing around the inside of the hole she can see.
<Capn_Ascii> Andrea: The inside of the pig is dark and (mostly) empty. There are more loose coins in here, indicating that the pig may have been used to carry some of the treasure in the previous room. You also notice what look like handholds carved into the inside wall, leading up to a spot that looks suspiciously like the inside of a hatch in the roof.
<Jenny> "Trojan Piggy?"
<Andrea> "Hmm. I'm willing to leave this alone for now, and come back later to try to use this thing, once we're not in danger," Andrea turns her attention to the apparent exit tunnel.
- Andrea starts going up said tunnel.
- Jenny follows.
- Suyana tags along
<Selphie> "So folks, while leaving the double doors open and the wall open means we can escape back this way if something nasty comes down the tunnel, it /also/ means if the padre gets our answerphone message, he'll come down the ladder and see the vault full of gold. Is that fine with you guys? Or should we try to close up the door here before heading up yonder tunnel?"
<Andrea> "No, that end is closed, we don't know where the tunnel is, that's the point."
<Capn_Ascii> Andrea, who clearly hates fun, ignores the tantalizing mystery of the piggy and leads everyone up along the tunnel.
<Jenny> "The padre is probably in trouble or caput. I don't think we need to worry about him following us right now, Selphie."
<Capn_Ascii> You walk for several minutes. Eventually you come to another solid wall, although this one is seemingly made of wood.
- Andrea looks for a hidden way to open the 'wall'. "I'll try to open this normally, but a wooden wall can be broken if necessary."
<Selphie> "I'm sure someone has a crowbar or a chainsaw around here."
<Capn_Ascii> Andrea: You poke around a bit, and realize that the wall is actually a large door, big enough for the pig to fit through. You can see the hinges where it fastens to the wooden frame - there's even a handle. However, the door refuses to open when you pull on it - feels like it's locked from the other side.
- Andrea looks to see if she can jimmie the keyhole.
- Selphie counts the paces from the vault to this garage door and factors in the direction to figure whether this exit is within the cemetery, within the town, within the woods, or somewhere else.
<Capn_Ascii> Andrea: There's no keyhole - it feels more like a padlock on the other side is holding it shut.
<Andrea> "No use. It's padlocked. We need the chainsaw!"
<Capn_Ascii> Selphie: You meant to count the paces earlier, but thoughts of that switch kept distracting you and you forgot.
- Jenny waves her chainsaw around gladly
<Capn_Ascii> Jenny: You pull the starter and, with a great flourish, get to work. Just for fun, you see if you can cut out an exact outline of each party member in the wood, but somewhere around Selphie's elbow the door's supports buckle and the whole thing caves completely. Darn.
<Jenny> "Well, I never was that great at art," Jenny sighs.
<Suyana> "I like it."
<Capn_Ascii> Beyond the door is the inside of a very large wooden structure that, at first glance, looks not unlike a barn. However, there are a number of un-farm-like tools lying around, including conveyor belts and huge circular saws. It appears to be an old lumber mill, if the many stacked logs and planks are any indication.
<Andrea> Andrea frowns and opens her phone again, trying to get a signal to see where they are, exactly.
<Capn_Ascii> Andrea: It looks like you're about a mile south of the town. A quick check of The Google reveals that this is probably the Sawyer Lumber Mill, an abandoned facility tucked into a rocky culvert just off the nearby highway.
- Andrea also attempts to figure out their location relative to the graveyard, zombie camp, and waterfall location.
<Capn_Ascii> It looks like you're south of the graveyard, southeast of the waterfall, and even more southeasterner of the zombie town.
- Andrea does a deeper search on the mill, to see if there are defined reasons why this place closed down, if there's any suspicious activity, etc.
<Andrea> "Jenny, maybe call Frank, let him know we found another way out, but to expect trouble at the church."
- Jenny calls Frank.
<Capn_Ascii> Andrea: Presumably, the place shut down when the previous owners left town due to the undead infes--er, the 'new neighbors'. Things seem to be in fairly good shape, though it looks like nobody's been through here in a long time.
<Capn_Ascii> Jenny: *ring ring* "Ohai! What's up?"
<Jenny> "Y'all be careful at the church, k? Also, we don't need you to let us out of the basement after all. We found a different way out."
<Selphie> Once nobody's on the phone any more, Selphie suggests, "Should we bring the airship /here/? It looks secluded enough, and we can set the drones to loading the bullion aboard while we go about our investigations... or while we have breakfast. I really feel like toast and crumpets."
<Jenny> "We need to find padre, ASAP."
<Jenny> "But, like, if your drones can handle loading by themselves or something, they can do that while we go find him."
<Andrea> "Can you trust it to do that while we're not here? I'd totally be in favor of you loading up while we... yes, that."
<Capn_Ascii> Jenny still has Frank pn the phone. "Let you out of the...oh! Oh, right, yeah, that. Totally didn't forget about that or anything. Eh heh heh. ...wait, what's this about the church?"
- Andrea overhears Jenny and facepalms
<Jenny> "Someone at the church locked us in, and the padre's not answering his phone, so something's up. Probably something deadly," Jenny says matter-of-factly.
<Capn_Ascii> "Uh oh. You want I should round up a posse? ...pardner?" He says that last bit hesitantly, as if he isn't sure if it sounded cool or not.
- Jenny holds her hand over the phone. "Do we want a zombie posse? We want a zombie posse, right?" She uncovers the phone again. "Yes. Do that."
<Capn_Ascii> "Right. We'll round up some folks and meet you at the graveyard."
<Selphie> (Again once the phone conversation is over:) "No I don't think it could do everything unmanaged. I'd need to oversee setting it up at least. Doesn't sound like we have time for that if we need to add the Padre to our shopping list of responsibilities. I suspect he can take care of himself. After all, he has managed to survive the zombie apocalypse - surely he can survive a van of bureaucrats?"
<Selphie> "I thought we were investigating seismic disturbances and The Thing In The Woods."
- Andrea changes the order of some lines in postprod
- Jenny shakes her head. "Better safe than sorry. We gotta check on him."
<Andrea> "I agree. If something happened to him, it has to be related."
- Andrea makes her way back to the town. "We'll just have to come back later. We've got plenty of time."
<Jenny> "Besides. If he's in trouble, there's probably something we get to beat up, if we find him," Jenny adds, grinning.
<Andrea> "This is a point."
<Selphie> "OK then."
<Jenny> "Back to the church then?" Jenny walks out of the lumber mill.
<Capn_Ascii> You step outside, and into a large, open lumber yard, piled high with old logs and slightly less old stacks of planks and plywood. The whole area is encircled by rocky cliffs, with a single, fenced opening across a dirt road that presumably leads back out to the highway. <more><Capn_Ascii> The cliffs are too high to climb, but you find an old access ladder in the back of the yard that leads up to the clifftop. A barbed wire fence has been erected atop the cliff to prevent random forest-goers from stumbling into the sawmill area and falling to their death; there's a person-sized gate with a rusty padlock holding it shut.
<Jenny> "Cliff or road?"
<Selphie> "Any reason to /not/ go by road? It's going to be faster in every way, surely."
<Jenny> "Unless that means going around the long way."
<Suyana> "Yeah, I'm not up to climbing up a cliff. They look, like, way too hard, anyway."
- Selphie looks for a vehicle they can commandeer.
- Andrea frowns. "Cliff will be faster," she heads for the ladder.
- Andrea starts climbing the ladder
<Capn_Ascii> You climb the ladder, and soon find yourself facied with a seemingly insurmountable obstacle - a chainlink fence! Overcoming this will require every lat ounce of your skill.
<Jenny> "Who knows how to pick a lock?"
- Andrea gets to work on the lock
- Selphie checks inside the barn for a ute.
<Capn_Ascii> Andrea: Hmm. Not your best work, but thankfully, it's an old lock. *click*
- Andrea grins and opens the lock
<Andrea> "Come on up, ladies!"
- Jenny waits for the others to climb, so she can push them from behind if needed.
- Suyana tags along up the ladder
<Capn_Ascii> Selphie: Not inside the barn, but there's a single old pickup truck sitting near the gate to the south. It's worn and weathered, and the plates are long since expired - it probably belonged to the mill, and they forgot about it when they left.
- Selphie checks it for fuel and keys.
<Capn_Ascii> Selphie: You flip down the visor and some keys fall out. Ah-hah! They thought they were being clever, but that was the first place you looked! THE FOOLS!
<Andrea> Andrea looks down and sees Selphie working on the car. "Hey, if you get that running, swing around and pick us up!"
<Capn_Ascii> Selphie: It's gassed up at least, but no telling if it actually runs or not.
- Jenny calls out to Andrea. "Do you phone magic thing and figure out if it would be faster to walk back from up there or drive around the long way."
- Selphie tries to fire it up.
<Andrea> "...It's just Google Maps, but fine," Andrea checks. "I can't imagine it'll be slower, given we can keep using the truck after you get us, though!"
<Selphie> "Sure. If it won't work, we'll walk. But if it runs OK, let's take the fast lane."
<Capn_Ascii> Andrea: Okay, let's see...if you assume 30mph on dirt, and 50 on pavement...factor in the distance going around...account for potential highway traffic...hmm, looks like it will take--
<Capn_Ascii> The sound of a truck horn draws your attention. You look up and see Selphie pulling up from between two nearby trees. Oh.
- Andrea hops onto the truckbed. "Let's roll!"
- Jenny hops in.
- Suyana tags along into the truck
<Selphie> "Anyone else want to drive?"
- Selphie hopes not.
<Andrea> Andrea shakes her head. "I'm fine."
<Suyana> "I never learned. I always walked or hitched a ride."
<Jenny> "Not me," Jenny says, enjoying the fresh air from the truckbed.
<Capn_Ascii> Selphie: Looks like you're the designated driver. Whee!
<Selphie> "Thanks for opening the gate, Andrea. Let's hit the fast lane!"
- Selphie drives out of the lumber mill.
<Capn_Ascii> You set off through the woods, a much shorter trip now that you have a ride. It only takes you a couple of minutes to reach the church.
- Andrea scopes out the scene for suspicious activity
<Capn_Ascii> Andrea: Everything looks the same as wheny ou left it the last time. The vehicle from before is still sitting outside the front door of the church, which is standing slightly ajar.
<Andrea> "Alright, let's go in and check on things."
- Jenny jumps out of the flatbed, chainsaw at the ready, as she heads towards the church doors.
- Suyana gets out of the truck like a normal, non-chainsaw wielding person
<Capn_Ascii> Andrea: You approach the door. Now you can see why it's open - someone is holding it that way with their foot, sticking out from the inside.
<Andrea> "Jenny, maybe hide that chainsaw for now, please. Let's not appear automatically hostile."
- Andrea gets closer
- Jenny looks at Andrea as if she was speaking gibberish, but puts the chainsaw behind her back anyway.
<Capn_Ascii> Andrea: You move to open the door. As you do, the foot tips and falls over, the door no longer holding it up. Oh, it's not someone's foot, it's just an empty shoe someone used as a doorstopper.
<Capn_Ascii> Then you notice the smell. And the blood. You realize your initial assumption was correct - the shoe is indeed filled with someone's foot, except it's not connected to anything save a bloody, gnawed stump. You idly wonder where the rest of them is...then you glance up, and realize how silly a question that is. The inside of the church is littered with chunks of dead body parts, still wrapped in their clothes. You'd
<Capn_Ascii> assume more zombie shenanigans, were it not for the blood spattered across seemingly every surface.
- Andrea takes a minute to steel herself, then starts trying to identify the dead individuals.
- Jenny looks for padre's head, convinced he must be dead.
<Suyana> "Dios...I think I'm going to be sick!" Suyana says, quickly retreating around the side of the church, out of sight.
<Andrea> Andrea frowns and walks back out, running to check on Suyana.
<Capn_Ascii> ---END SESSION---